Author Topic: Mercy Killing  (Read 19920 times)

Dolce Vita

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2012, 08:21:39 AM »
If the patient and family has understood and accepted Karma, I think there is no need for mercy killing. To kill them with mercy, we thought we are helping the patient. From the surface it looks like as if we are helping them to end their sufferings, but in fact we are not. If they leave this world with regret, with grief, with anger, they are going to be reborn in a place that is not so nice.

I think it will be better to explain to the patient (if the patient is conscious) what karma is, help them to accept. Then teach them how to recite mantra, have a connection with Buddha. If they are not conscious, we can do our part by praying to the Buddha (or protector) to help the patient.

When we kill with mercy, are we really helping the patient or we do it out of our selfishness because we are not able to cope anymore? 

I have read a Buddha story before about Buddha himself killing a person:

"The Buddha, in a past life as a ship's captain named Super Compassionate, discovered a criminal on board who intended to kill the 500 passengers. If he told the passengers, they would panic and become killers themselves. With no other way out, he compassionately stabbed the criminal to death. Captain Compassionate saved the passengers not only from murder, but from becoming murderers themselves. Unlike him, they would have killed in rage and suffered hell. He saved the criminal from becoming a mass murderer and even worse suffering. He himself generated vast karmic merit by acting with compassion."

So, examine our motivation to kill in depth. Since we are not Buddha, I think when we kill, we will not generate karmic merit but negative karmas.

hope rainbow

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2012, 02:42:43 PM »
Thank you for sharing this topic.

While writing this, my family is currently facing with this situation. The person keep asking and like begging us to take her home and ask us to let go. The doctor told us that without the supporting equipment she might go anytime. While I was with her one of the most crucial time is that she wanted to pull all the needles and oxygen host. She was so strong that it takes 3 to 4 people to pull her down that very moment. I was there with other 3 nurses… At that very moment I calm her down while she scolded me. Here I don’t want to see her suffer there I cant just stand there without doing anything. The last 1 day is been difficult as her both her hands are swollen and they can find any of her vain and have to now jab trough her neck area. Today she has water in her lungs, which they have successfully, drain away.

Question:

If we decide to take her home upon request is this still consider killing?

If Dr says that there is no other way to treat her and ask us to take her home? Izit still consider killing?


Dear VajraD,
I am sorry for the difficult situation one of your relative is going through at the moment and I feel for her.

I do like what Positive Attitude did write about it.

I have not had to face such complex situation myself (yet), but I would like to think that if it was my mother I had to deal with, I would do what I conclude to be the best for her, even at the cost of facing karmic consequences for myself that may be difficult to deal with, I am ready to do that for the well-being of my mother. I would put the well-being of my mother before the fear of my karma. And the well-being may not necessarily be the longest life, it may be the comfort of home and a peaceful dying process with the right company and with a peace of mind.

The well-being of my mother comes before mine.
The well-being of others come before mine.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2012, 01:30:12 PM »
When the doctor told me that my late mum had only maybe 3 months to live, I asked why did she have to suffer being bed-ridden for a few more months? Why did she not die earlier than to suffer the pain for so long?  She slowly lost the use of her limbs, her sight, her hearing ... then she became bed ridden and slowly losing her appetite until she only survived on a small bowl of cereals or rice porridge/broth.  To see her just lying there, not being able to do anything by herself for herself was heart wrenching.

So when I heard what the doctor, I was almost relieved that she did not have to suffer much more as her time was almost up.  She passed on not long after that.

If I had been given the choice to end it for her, I don't think I would have had the courage to do so.  I don't think it is right to take away someone else's life.

Tammy

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2012, 02:18:01 PM »
If the patient and family has understood and accepted Karma, I think there is no need for mercy killing. To kill them with mercy, we thought we are helping the patient. From the surface it looks like as if we are helping them to end their sufferings, but in fact we are not. If they leave this world with regret, with grief, with anger, they are going to be reborn in a place that is not so nice.

I think it will be better to explain to the patient (if the patient is conscious) what karma is, help them to accept. Then teach them how to recite mantra, have a connection with Buddha. If they are not conscious, we can do our part by praying to the Buddha (or protector) to help the patient.

When we kill with mercy, are we really helping the patient or we do it out of our selfishness because we are not able to cope anymore? 

I have read a Buddha story before about Buddha himself killing a person:

"The Buddha, in a past life as a ship's captain named Super Compassionate, discovered a criminal on board who intended to kill the 500 passengers. If he told the passengers, they would panic and become killers themselves. With no other way out, he compassionately stabbed the criminal to death. Captain Compassionate saved the passengers not only from murder, but from becoming murderers themselves. Unlike him, they would have killed in rage and suffered hell. He saved the criminal from becoming a mass murderer and even worse suffering. He himself generated vast karmic merit by acting with compassion."

So, examine our motivation to kill in depth. Since we are not Buddha, I think when we kill, we will not generate karmic merit but negative karmas.

Dolce Vista,

I like your post the most! It had given me a whole new angle to think and reflect on my decision. I alway tell my family and friends that if there comes a day I am bed ridden, no hope of cured n I am depending on life support system to prolong my miserable life - PLS PULL THE PLUG!

After reading your post, I realsized that I DO have to exhaust as much negative karma in this very lifetime, so that we have a better chance to be reborn as human being and able to meet dharma ! So if being bed ridden and totally depending on other people / machines to stay alive is a form of purification - so be it !

Off to change my little will now!
Down with the BAN!!!

Tenzin K

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2012, 04:24:30 PM »
Personally I do not agree with Euthanasia even if it is voluntary or legal in some countries. If we believe in karma it’s not acceptable. Whatever suffering we going through are the effect from our action before.

Yes, it’s very painful to see suffering but we should accept it as our karma. This doesn’t mean nothing can be help. What I meant of help her might be directly lessen the suffering or a better future rebirth. There are purification practices can be done. As long that one have not died or dead but within 49 days we still can do something to generate or dedicate merits for them.

Terminating life is not the right way but just an easy way out. Does not bring any benefit in long term. Trust the protector and do our protector practice, at the time of difficulties or death, if our samaya with our Guru is good the protector under the blessing of our Guru will help us at that time.

Midakpa

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2012, 06:35:08 AM »
This is a difficult question to answer because of its complexity. It's always difficult to make decisions when in a situation that involves one's religious beliefs and conscience. It's easier if one was an atheist and one is only compelled by one's compassion for another living being. In Buddhism, one has to consider one's karma because killing is not allowed.

In Buddhism, killing is done in exceptional cases, to prevent more negative karma from being committed. But one has to accept the consequences. Lama Yeshe once replied to a question on whether he would kill  in self-defence if that was the only way to stop someone from killing him. Lama Yeshe said, " Then it would be better that you kill me."

This shows how important it is to avoid killing because the results will ressemble the cause. Whatever the reason, killing is a major transgression of Buddhist vows.

negra orquida

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2012, 07:33:19 AM »
This is tough!!!  I am trying to imagine one of my loved ones being bed ridden and dependant on life support to continue living, i imagine they are pleading for me to pull the plug... would i do it? how would i feel if the person struggles and then dies after i pulled the plug?

I won't be able to do it.  Even if the act doesn't technically fulfil the 4 components of killing... I'd feel that i have killed my loved one.

Wikipedia'd this topic and here is what's in the literature:

Quote
... in the monastic code (Patimokkha), it states:
"Should any bhikkhu intentionally deprive a human being of life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): 'My good man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death would be better for you than life,' or with such an idea in mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise the advantages of death or incite him to die, he also is defeated and no longer in communion."

Quote
American Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:
Thus, from the Buddha's perspective, encouraging a sick person to relax her grip on life or to give up the will to live would not count as an act of compassion. Instead of trying to ease the patient's transition to death, the Buddha focused on easing his or her insight into suffering and its end.

Quote
Asked his view on euthanasia, the Dalai Lama said Buddhists believed every life was precious and none more so than human life, adding: 'I think it's better to avoid it.'
'But at the same time I think with abortion, (which) Buddhism considers an act of killing ... the Buddhist way is to judge the right and wrong or the pros and cons.'
He cited the case of a person in a coma with no possibility of recovery or a woman whose pregnancy threatened her life or that of the child or both where the harm caused by not taking action might be greater.
"These are, I think from the Buddhist viewpoint, exceptional cases," he said. "So it's best to be judged on a case by case basis."

Instead of trying to ease the patient's transition to death, the Buddha focused on easing his or her insight into suffering and its end  What do you think this means?

Now i'm trying to imagine i am the person who is bedridden and on life support, and suffering a lot of pain and anguish.  Why would i rather die?  It is because i think i am going to die anyway and my pain will stop after death.  If i think i have a chance to live, or if i think i can still do something useful with the little life i have left, would i bear with the pain and make the most of it?  would my suffering be a little less with that kind of mind frame? Would i put the responsibility of letting me live or die onto someone else? (However these kind of questions arguably can't be applied if i was in a vegetative state... hmm)

lotus1

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2012, 05:11:48 AM »
Thank you for posting this topic and started this discussion.

Previously, I do think it is OK for mercy killing or Euthanasia as long as we know it will be good to relief the sufferings of the patients and be ready to take on any karma due to this act.

Recently, I started to think it may not be the case. How would I know the act will be beneficial to the patient? It is only from what we know and see which is at a very surface level as we are not enlightened yet. When I think it deeper, I maybe still think that once he die, all the sufferings will cease but this may not be real!! I find that if I really believe in future lives and Karma, I will hold my act on mercy killing. It is because I do not really 100% sure that the patient can still rebirth as a human being and practice Dharma again in his next life. At least now he can still have the chance to practice Dharma although physically he is suffering. He can still create positive Karma and merits while he is alive. If he has more Dharma understanding, he will find the peace within despite physical sufferings.

Therefore, for now, I will think prayer will help the person. I will pray to the protector, if the karma is for the person to leave, please bring him to a good rebirth. If it is for him to stay, then please bless him and support him to live longer and to have conducive conditions to understand Dharma better.

I would think Palliative care will be more Dharmic than mercy killing. What do you all think?

Aurore

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2012, 07:48:13 PM »
For many people, it is easier to end a person's life as it ends one's responsibilities, heart ache, hospital bills, etc etc. So many many selfish reasons I can think of. Even if someone is suffering from pain, it's better to let him suffer and end it once and for all then having to experience this again next life.

Perhaps it would be better to let this person live a little longer and during this period before death to help him collect as much merits as possible by practicing dharma, take a vegetarian vow, liberate an animal, do pujas and then dedicate the collection of merits to this person as the merits are more when a person is alive than dead.

We should think about what we can do for this person rather than giving up and taking the easy route out.

pgdharma

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2012, 03:37:12 PM »
I think  most of the time it is our mind that play trick on us. When we are alone and in a dark, eerie place even the wind blowing or the door squeaking will make us jump.  Supernatural beings do exist but not everyone can see those beings. If we do not have the karma to see it , then we will not. However,  if we are sensitive, we may feel a presence lingering us......

Jessie Fong

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2012, 12:04:31 PM »
Mercy killing may be the means to an end --- to end someone else's suffering, provided that person does not have any more hope of a better life.  The doctors must have exhausted all means of saving him and is sure that if he should continue to live on, he would not be in a vegetative state.  If he stays on to be in a vegetative state or comatose, what else can he do but suffer pain until his last breath.  Would not euthanasia be a better alternative?

brian

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2012, 12:30:00 AM »
Whatabout a story in Buddha's life, because he killed one person who has the potential to kill a 1,000 person by way of his clairvoyance and yet he is enlighTened. So do we name this as mercy killing?

But seriously if mercy killing is by way manifested by ordinary human beings, I do not believe it is Buddhism at all. Buddhism teachings are entirely based on not hurting others. Mercy killing by ordinary human beings makes me want to believe it is manifested from a personal agenda of trying to subdue/overpower/terrorise another clan or of different belief.

ratanasutra

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2012, 01:39:07 PM »
i do not agree with Euthanasia and i don't think mercy and killing can go together.
Yes, in our point of view we think we are release/help them from their suffering but its just from our perceiving from what we see. However killing have repercussion even it from the good intention to help without anger or bad motive. 

i never come across any case of mercy killing but i have a story to share. There is an old lady who was sick in hospital and she has to go through of lot of suffering in her last period. Dr. has informed the family members that she won't recover and the family members can make the decision that they want to keep her with the on going machine or just take out the support machine and let her die.
It was very difficult for them to make decision and they chose to keep her until her last minute. One day she getting better and able to talk with people and it was a same day that she was getting worse and showed sign of going to pass on, during the suffer process which the family member didn't know how to deal with it, a nurse who in the room whisper next to her ear and asked her that : what you have done that made you the most happy in this life? the old lady thought and said made offering to the monks so the nurse told her that we are going to the temple and make offering to the monks now and lead the old lady think about the monks she going to make offering and finally she died with peaceful.


 

bambi

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2012, 03:10:51 PM »
I personally believe that Euthanasia is wrong and shouldn't be encouraged for killing is killing. We are not at the level of a Boddhisatva to transform the motivation into compassion hence our motivation may not be as pure. Only when it is, that the action is considered a virtuous action.
What if their karma turns out to be worse than it is now after they take rebirth in the next life? Since we are not at the level, we do not have the clairvoyance to see whether our actions are correct or not.
While they are still alive and although suffering, we can always do as many pujas as we can for them for a better rebirth, for their mind to be more at ease, purifying their negative karma and plant the seed of Dharma.

Found a teaching on this:

One must do everything within one’s capacity to prevent such a compromising decision, to ascertain that there is no alternative treatment or other method at all possible, and even then, the decision is not an easy one. Your decision depends on many factors. A sentient being’s consciousness does not stop after this life ends. If you were to kill a suffering animal in this life, but it’s karma at that stage was such that it were to be reborn into a lower realm, the pain that it is currently experiencing in this life (and that you are jeopardising your own karma for) is no different. In fact, such a suffering animal would be much better off for even just two minutes to remain in the pain it is experiencing in this life. Again, we can see it makes for a very difficult decision!

In the Mahayana teachings, killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and telling lies are permitted in tantra, but to do these actions one needs strong compassion for the other sentient being. When bodhisattvas engage in these actions they have to have a brave heart and totally give themselves up to be born in the hell realms, so as to totally accept the heavy negative karma, the incomparable suffering in the hell realms, from the act of killing. Also they have to have wisdom, seeing that by doing these actions there will be great benefit. So, one needs strong compassion for other beings and wisdom to know what is beneficial.

biggyboy

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2012, 05:32:02 PM »
There is so much contradiction in these two words. What is so merciful in killing something?

Emotionally, we may feel that mercy killing is to put that person or thing out of misery by ending the life. But isn’t this action passing judgement on a certain situation which we are not supposed to do. How are we to know what is best for that person or being. If we believe in karma, we would believe that what is happening,  is the result of karma ripening and that it should take its course to completion. Therefore according to Buddhist teachings, if the course of karma is stopped prematurely, one would have to come back to complete its course, maybe resulting in greater suffering. Therefore is this merciful?  Because it stops pain and suffering, physically it may seem merciful. But spiritually it is not, because one cannot escape from the karma ripening and one has to go through it.